Men’s Hockey: Big Third Period Carries UVM Past UMass 6-4

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

AMHERST, Mass. – The Catamounts scored four unanswered goals in the third period at the Mullins Center and stormed back from 4-2 down to beat UMass Amherst 6-4 on Saturday night for head coach Kevin Sneddon’s 200th win at Vermont.

The come-from-behind win also marked Sneddon’s 250th in his NCAA coaching career. UVM took 4-of-4 points from the weekend in Hockey East play and has now won six of its last eight games, improving to 11-14-2 (5-7-2 HEA). The Minutemen dropped their sixth straight and fell to 8-15-2 (4-9-2 HEA).

Alexx Privitera led the Catamount attack with a pair of goals, while Brendan Bradley posted a four-point game with primary assists on both Privitera tallies and an empty-netter. Vermont finished the night with a season-high 46 shots on goal and out-shot the Minutemen by 24.

“Obviously we didn’t want to put ourselves in that situation but we showed a lot of resilience,” said Sneddon. “We stuck with it in the third, kept our foot on the gas, never let up and we were rewarded. We told the guys not to play the scoreboard but to keep doing the things that make us successful.”

Dennis Kravchenko opened the scoring for UMass nine minutes into the opening period, finishing high blocker side on Packy Munson (18 saves) off a feed from defenseman Ben Gallacher.

Privitera answered for the Catamounts with his first of the night less than two minutes later. Bradley curled around the Massachusetts net and picked out Privitera in the high slot. The senior ripped a heavy one-timer blocker side to beat Nic Renyard and tie the game at one.

Patrick Lee scored the first of back-to-back power play goals at 15:01 to put UMass back on top. Kravchenko then tipped a Gallacher point shot under Munson’s pads at the end of a 5-on-3 at 18:39 of the first and the Minutemen led 3-1.

Vermont used four power play opportunities to dominate the second period, out-shooting UMass 19-5. Privitera netted his second of the contest just past the midway point of the game off another Bradley setup. The junior slid an interior pass to Privitera drifting into the high slot, and the veteran defenseman snapped a shot into the upper left corner.

Austin Plevy finally stole the momentum back for the Minutemen when he restored the two-goal cushion at the 14:49 mark. Plevy collected a cross-ice pass from Ray Pigozzi, deked into the left circle, and fired a shot across the face of goal inside the right post.

Mario Puskarich hit the right post twice near the end of the second period, but UMass went into the third period ahead 4-2.

The Catamount comeback began two and a half minutes into the third as Jarrid Privitera touched a pass to the left point for Mitch Ferguson. The defenseman curled around the faceoff circle and dropped a feed into the high slot for Ori Abramson, who wristed a shot inside the left post for his first career goal.

UVM tied the score at 5:18 when Yvan Pattyn found Jonathan Turk for a weak angle wrist shot that beat Renyard high blocker side. Vermont then took its first lead five minutes later as Pattyn and Bradley kept a loose puck alive at the right post. The puck squirted to the top of the crease for an open Puskarich, who quickly roofed a shot for a 5-4 cushion.

UMass pulled Renyard for an extra skater late in regulation, but Craig Puffer blocked a pass near the top of the right circle and cleared. Bradley took advantage of a fanned pass at neutral ice and skated in alone to seal the win with his eighth goal in the last 13 games.

Munson stopped all five shots he faced in the third period to push his record to 7-4-0 through 11 starts.

Vermont has next weekend off before resuming Hockey East play on Feb. 5-6 with a two-game home series against 13th-ranked Notre Dame. Friday, Feb. 5 is the program’s Hockey East Skating Strides Against Cancer game at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The team will wear pink jerseys that will be auctioned off to benefit the UVM Cancer Center.

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